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Contending for the Gospel: Time for a New Approach

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 19 Feb 2018

Church Society, Reform and the Fellowship of Word and Spirit are delighted to announce their plans for uniting.

We are delighted to announce that the Church Society Council, the Reform Council, and the Trustees of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit have all agreed to pursue a merger. It is in the light of our shared Biblical, Reformed, Anglican faith and common goals that we have decided that the challenges of the present time require us to unite our efforts so that we are better placed to harness the energies of evangelicals in contending for the gospel.

Bringing such bodies together requires a lot of hard work and much trust but it is right for biblical Christians to pursue this. In the Bible the impact of sin always seems to be fragmentation and dispersal, but the fruit of the gospel and living under the rule of Christ is unity and gathering together. Furthermore we believe that in the circumstances of the present Church of England the coming together of these bodies will enable us to be more effective in the pioneering, establishing and securing of healthy local Anglican churches.

A detailed plan for the merger of the three bodies has been worked out. Both Reform and FWS will be encouraging their members to join this renewed Church Society in advance of our AGM on May 12th, so that they will be eligible to speak and vote at that meeting. A new Church Society council will be elected then, and it is anticipated that this will include representatives of all three groups. A new President will also be appointed. There will, of course, be much still to work out in terms of the new organisation and how best to ensure we retain the valuable work that each has been doing. We ask for your prayers and your patience during this transition time.

I rejoice greatly and am so grateful to God that Anglican evangelicals in the UK are combining their strengths to stand firm in the Church of England. This is a huge story and counters the fiction that orthodox groups are fragmenting and leaving. We’re not. We’re coming together like never before, as the times demand. This is the biggest thing to happen in the Anglican Evangelical world here for 25 years.” Revd Dr Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society

At a time when even our best Bishops talk of the debate about gender and human sexuality as a tsunami, our divisions and separateness from fellow conservative evangelicals are little short of scandalous or irresponsible. The need for unity of fellowship and purpose with bodies like Church Society and Fellowship of Word & Spirit is urgent and overdue. Such unity is good in itself, good for our networks, good for the times, and good for our standing and contending shoulder to shoulder in the advance and defence of the gospel. I whole-heartedly support this proposed merger.Canon David Banting

25 years ago Reform came into existence in order to galvanise evangelicals into contending for Scriptural faithfulness within the Church of England. Much has changed since then, but the urgent need to keep contending for the gospel remains. Our new context means that we need to focus our efforts, unite our endeavours, and ensure we maximise the usefulness of our resources. I am therefore approaching this prospect of a merger with real enthusiasm and hopefulness – and I would urge you to do the same.Bishop Rod Thomas

The FWS commitment to contemporary biblical reformed theology, through godly mutual fellowship and positive engagement with others, means being ‘semper reformanda’, ‘always reforming’. At a time when our nation is rapidly rejecting its Christian inheritance, and the Church of England is in a crisis about its convictions and influence, there has never been a greater need for those committed to biblical truth to unite together, enabling our message to be heard with greater clarity and power. This isn’t ‘politics’; it is better living out the theological vision we proclaim, for the sake of the church and our nation.” Rev Dr Rob Munro, Chair of Fellowship of Word and Spirit

Information about joining Church Society is here and details of the conference and AGM on May 12th are here. Please note that you do not have to attend the conference in order to attend the AGM.

Lee Gatiss is Director of Church Society

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